- The Washington Times - Monday, September 1, 2014

More than 735,000 people from the D.C. region were expected to hit the roads this Labor Day weekend for the last of the summer travel season. But despite the congestion on the roadways during the holiday weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic warns that Tuesday could bring some of the region’s worst gridlock as commuters settle back into typical routines.

“Terrible Traffic Tuesday epitomizes just how overcrowded and overstressed our roadways and our mass transit systems really are,” said Lon Anderson, director of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s public and government affairs.

The average commute in the D.C. region last year was 36 minutes one way, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Commuting delays tend to decrease during the summer months when students are out of school and families go on vacation. But in September, as students get back to school and the vacations wind down, the commuting time tends to creep back up again, according to AAA.

While schools in the District and Maryland started last week, Virginia students will return to class for the first time on Tuesday.

The extra crush on the roadway as commuter routines return to normal increases the typical daily travel delays from around 20.4 minutes in August to 25.8 minutes in September, according to AAA.

Officials expected an increase in Labor Day holiday traffic this year, with AAA-Mid Atlantic predicting that 842,100 people in the D.C. area would travel at least 50 miles over the holiday, a 0.6 percent increase in travelers over last year.

One of the most congested area roadways during the holiday weekend, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that funnels drivers from the D.C. region to the Maryland and Delaware beaches, will count more than 347,000 vehicles that travel through its toll plaza over the weekend, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

All construction-related lane closures on the bridge have been suspended through 9 p.m. Monday to help ease traffic congestion.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has suspended most roadwork and lifted lane closures through noon Tuesday to ease travel woes during the holiday.